The new year is likely to bring relief to residents commuters in Chennai's Thyagaraya Nagar with the Greater Chennai corporation ready to launch a multi-level parking lot on Thanikachalam road. And while the civic body is certain this move will reduce vehicular traffic in pedestrian plazas across Pondy Bazaar, residents question if the parking lot will help control congestion near Usman road as well.
Speaking to TNM, Meghanath Reddy, Deputy Commissioner, confirms that the six floor facility is part of a larger plan to make Pondy Bazaar vehicle free. "It is a robotic multi level parking space and was the natural step to take after the pedestrian plaza was completed. It has space for 222 cars and over 500 bikes. It will definitely reduce congestion near Pondy Bazaar," he says.
"The current problem is that due to lack of parking space near the area, cars and bikes are getting parked. We are looking to solve this problem. With the plaza redesigned and parking in space, the area will have more visitors" Manjunath Reddy adds.
The civic body plans to issue a tender to ensure that the parking space is manned and maintained. The cost for parking is likely to be Rs.20 to Rs.40 per hour for cars. In addition to this, reports suggest that work is underway for the redesigning of North and South Usman road as well.
Residents however are concerned that the parking lot is too far from the area's prime shopping space, Ranganathan street.
"While the intention is welcome, the execution is what matters," says Jayaraman, President of T Nagar Residents' association. "If people park at Thanikachalam street, what is the guarantee that they will walk till Usman road?" he asks.
He further adds that a similar structure closer to the prime shopping space can address both congestion and pollution.
"Even if this structure comes up on Thanikachalam street, the civic body is not banning cars from entering the roads. For this to work, the authorities have to be very strict in their implementation," he points out.
Meghanath Reddy however states that while there is no immediate plan to prevent vehicular traffic near the pedestrian plaza, discussions are underway in the matter. He also adds that the new parking space could impact the traffic near Usman road.
"We are also in the process of planning street parking management. A concept study is going to figure out which streets attract a lot of parking but don't have the space for it. Once we have a clear idea, we can look into the economic feasibility and viability," he explains. "Then we can look to replicate similar parking solutions across the city."